Clippers Make Moves at SF

July 10, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; NBA player Grant Hill in attendance during Team USA practice at the UNLV Mendenhall Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

When it became apparent late Tuesday morning that the Los Angeles Clippers would sign veteran small forward Grant Hill, terms were still not announced. Would the Clippers use their Bi-Annual Exception (2 years/$4million) on Hill? Perhaps orchestrate a sign and trade using Ryan Gomes' expiring deal(4 million a year)? Another option would have been a sign and trade with the Aminu TPE (2.75 million a year).

In the end, the three-headed monster in the Clippers' front office (Del Negro, Roeser, and Sacks) decided to use the BAE on Hill, and then amnesty current Clippers backup SF Ryan Gomes.

If the Clippers had orchestrated a sign-and-trade using Ryan Gomes, Phoenix would have had to, well, take back Ryan Gomes and pay him four million dollars. Needless to say, the Suns would rather not do that unless there was sweetener, and the Clippers decided not to throw in a future first rounder (or the Clippers offered that and PHO still declined- no way to know).

Instead, if the Clippers had used the Aminu TPE, then Hill would have only made slightly more money, and the Clippers would have lost a valuable trading chip that doesn't cost them salary.

With their current moves, the Clippers now have a payroll of 66.2 million (according to my phone's calculator), which means they still have a little flexibility to avoid the luxury tax. With the tax apron to be at around 70 million, the Clippers currently have 11 players, which leaves them four roster spots for that 4 million dollars.

There are only two ways for the Clippers to improve their roster right now besides a trade: TPEs and Minimum contracts. The trade exceptions that the Clippers have are worth around 2.75 million (Aminu) and 1.2 million (Cook). The Aminu exception expires in December, and the Cook exception will be good until the trade deadline. It would be hard to convince a team to sign-and-trade for an exception without giving up a first rounder, so the trade needs to be for a guy already under contract.

So here's how they can improve:

  • Sign a player for the veteran's min
  • Use the Aminu TPE by December on a player under contract for 2.75 million or less
  • Use the Cook TPE by the deadline on a player under contract for 1.2 million or less
The most pressing need, currently, is the backup center spot, where the Clippers could use a guy who won't demand many minutes, but can bang on the block with some of the bulkier centers in the league on certain nights.
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